I can still remember
the muzzle on my face pumping chemical fog
that tasted like cool plastic,
sweet sterile relief.
Bronchodilator, it was called:
and I could imagine my little air-chambers blooming like
orchids, coaxed open by that cool fog-breath
if I could just be patient.
And I was, my tiny feet dangling over the edge
of the kitchen counter, counting breaths -
so patient, like you taught me
as you brushed my golden hair, singing and soothing.
Back then, I was too young to understand:
Why can’t I breathe? Why can’t I
tell you how my breathing has always been different,
a song of my own with long-forgotten words
that whisper to me still, lung-swells
carrying me out to sea.
Even though I am no longer the sickly child,
the choking, panting child, the sweet little cared-for child;
I still lose my breath in the chaos of unfolding
and long for that soothing fog.
Even though the medicine was cold in my lungs
and the granite cold under my legs,
the memory is always warm.